OPPORTUNITY to fail for some is simply opportunity for others. NSW might be staring at a sixth successive series defeat, but the Blues last captain, Trent Barrett, only sees the latter.
''This is a massive opportunity for blokes in this team,'' said Barrett, now one of Ricky Stuart's assistant coaches. ''This can kick-start a lot of careers at this level.
''A lot of people remember how you perform in Origin. It's huge. It is a new era. We've got a pretty young team, besides a couple of blokes in their late-20s. But for the rest of the team, it's an opportunity to stay together for a long time … those young blokes, it's a huge chance for them to prove that they can play at this level and be there for a long time.''
The Blues left for Brisbane yesterday, with Barrett at pains to say the only baggage joining them would be their kit bags. Only one player, captain Paul Gallen, has played at least one game through the past five series. Five of them are yet to play one match.
''That wasn't their fault,'' he said. ''We've got five new blokes in the team … and a lot of blokes who weren't involved in the last five years, so we carry no baggage with that. Obviously we want to win just as much as the teams in the last five years wanted to win, but little things that we could have prevented in the last few years, we need to fix.
''That's what it's all about. I'm just excited for the blokes who are yet to play it. They'll never forget it, going to Brisbane with so much at stake. It's pretty exciting.''
The Blues know what stands between them and a first-up win - some of the best players to pull on a Queensland jumper. But while they are superstars, Barrett said they are not superhuman.
''It's nothing different to what these guys get every week at their clubs,'' Barrett said. ''They play against the Thurstons and the Smiths and they have for years. If we get an even share of possession, we're competing in all the little things, we're chasing our kicks, we're winning that middle bit of the field and all the little efforts are good, the scoreboard will look after itself.
''No-one will take dummies off Thurston, no-one will sink in on Cameron Smith at marker. Those little things they know, it's doing it under fatigue. That's attitude.
''This is about attitude and grit. If you look at how we've been beaten in the last few years, it's been through exactly that. And at the end of the year, there are Australian jumpers up for grabs. There's no more to play for than what's presented for them here.''
Barrett might have been saying all this yesterday, ramming home a point or two, but he won't be saying it to the players. He says he doesn't need to.
''I think they'd know, deep down,'' Barrett said. ''When you have a look at the team we've picked, when you have a look at the situation we're in, it's pretty obvious. These players have aspirations, they all have goals and dreams. I know if it was me, that's what I'd be thinking.''